DENISE SCHATZ '07

What comes to mind when you think about your time at Hunter College now?

The building. I think of industrial blue and gridded windows. I think of the maze of studios, oddly shaped and built out differently with each new occupant. The pipes and the abandoned machinery from the technical college that would have to be integrated into people’s work spaces. And late night dance parties.

What are the overlaps and distinct differences between your own artistic practice and Miniature Garden?

Miniature Garden began as an experiment. My background is in drawing, which for me can mean sitting alone in the studio staring at a blank piece of paper. After graduating I moved into a space that was very isolated. I missed the interaction at Hunter and in an effort to get out of my head, I began collaborating with friends on small publications. I found there was a freedom and spontaneity easily achieved in collaboration that I was not experiencing in my own work. A book project can reflect a shared moment or thought without being labored over for long. It is immediate and intimate, but also accessible to a larger audience. The book format has begun to overlap into my own work. I no longer envision things on the wall, but in turning pages. Still, finding a balance between elements of collaboration and working alone is a significant part of my process; one informs the other.

We are particularly interested in your publications in which you collaborate with other Hunter alumni. Can you tell us a bit about the books that appear in our exhibition’s reading space?

I have worked on publications with Ariel Dill, Claudia Peña Salinas, and Patricia valencia—all friends I met at Hunter who continue to influence and inspire my work. Collaborating with each of them comes naturally and is rooted in the time we spent together at school. A few of our publications that are on view in the reading room include Eclipse Book ([created with] valencia), Nur Du! ([created with] Peña Salinas), and Book of Books ([created with] Dill). With Book of Books, Ariel and I created a series of publications that focused on our love of rocks, houseplants, and books—in that order. Each publication has a poster insert of images submitted by friends, many of whom are also Hunter alumni: Tania Cross, Ben Dowell, Susana Gaudêncio, Nathan Gwynne, Hope Hilton, Ezra Johnson, Emily Noelle Lambert, Artemis Louis, Jennifer MacDonald, Jessica Mein, Kristine Moran, Lauren O’Neill-Butler, Carolyn Salas, Christian Sampson, Gretchen Scherer, Emma Spertus, Raphael Taylor, and Courtney Tramposh.

Teufelsberg, Germany, Summer 2009 

Rug, Lower East Side, Fall 2013

Stack of NIH NIH Posters—Casey Cook’s Feather, Fall 2014

Small Trash Can on Copy Machine, Summer 2013

Claudia Making Books, Summer 2010

Image from Kathyrn Arthurs, ed., Terrariums and Miniature Gardens: A Sunset Book (Menlo Park, Calif.: Lane Books, 1973)